The BC government is making changes to fix public auto insurance. The new Enhanced Care model at ICBC will help those injured in an accident by providing better care when people need it most. No one should have to hire a lawyer to get the care that they need.
The new Enhanced Care model increases the money available for treatment and care to $7.5 million (up from the current $300,000). By removing the majority of the legal complications, drivers can expect to save an average of $400 in premiums compared to the existing model.
For more information, visit 2021.icbc.com.
Every driver needs good car insurance – and good care, in case we get hurt. That’s why car insurance is never just about the car. It’s about people and the safety of everyone on the road.
A care-model, known as a “no-fault model” in some other areas, means the primary purpose of your car insurance is to restore you back to health if you are injured in an accident regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.
Under the care-model, you would still be responsible if you caused an accident and your future premiums would be adjusted to reflect that. However, you would not have to be worried about whether or not you had sufficient insurance to cover the care for the person injured in the accident. Under the care-model, the system is designed to provide those who are injured the care they need. A care-model also protects you from being sued by someone you hit, unless you happened to be found criminally at-fault for the accident. Your doctor or healthcare professional determines what care and treatment you require, not a lawyer or the insurance company.
A tort-model, because of the legal costs associated, provides significantly less coverage for treatment for injured people. As a result, injured drivers who are not at-fault in an accident are often forced to seek legal remedies to try and get some money for care. However, this does not always work out in favour of the injured party and, even if they do get some form of settlement in the form of a one-time lump sum payment, a portion of that goes towards legal fees leaving less for care and treatment.
If you suffer serious injuries, you may require treatment and rehabilitation for years or for a lifetime. And the quality of your recovery can depend on whether you – and the driver who hit you – have enough insurance to cover the costs of your care, for as long as it’s required.
That’s why the difference between a care-model and a tort-model is so important. And the public insurance model in Saskatchewan provides a very good comparison. Saskatchewan General Insurance offers both a care-model (no-fault) and a tort option for the same price. However, over 99% of drivers choose the care model.
That’s because, for the same price, the care-model offers over $7.1 million for medical and rehabilitation coverage. The tort-model, on the other hand, only offers a paltry $28,159 (If you have a catastrophic injury, that amount only goes up to only $211,189). Such low amounts can leave people without the care they need.
Learn more about the differences here.
Healthcare groups including, but not limited to, the Doctors of BC , Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia, and theCanadian Association of Occupational Therapists have all spoken in favour of the new care-model for public car insurance.
Additionally, the Insurance Brokers Association of BC, which represents insurance brokers across the province, have also spoken out in support of the new Enhanced Care model.
Most important, the people of British Columbia overwhelmingly support the Enhanced Care model. A poll conducted by Research Co. of British Columbians in March 2020 found that three-in-four (75%) support a care model and, specifically, over seven-in-ten support ICBC’s Enhanced Care model (72%).
The Enhanced Care model is estimated to help save over $1 billion in legal costs in its first year, money that will go into savings for every driver and better care for people who are injured. That’s why the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, which represents personal injury lawyers, are trying to protect their profits by trying to convince people that they’re losing rights. But that argument completely ignores the fact that, with the new Enhanced Care model, you can still sue an at-fault driver if they have been criminally convicted, such as for drunk driving or for excessive speeding.
Fixing public car insurance is about taking better care of people – not about helping lawyers and big companies get rich.
Private insurance companies are profit-driven. In order to maximize profits, their aim is to pay out as little as possible. This experience has played out in Ontario, where premiums are the highest in the country and yet accident benefits covered under mandatory insurance only covers up to $65,000 for non-catastrophic injuries, and $1 million for catastrophic injuries. You can pay extra to increase your coverage, but the limits only got up to $1 million for non-catastrophic injuries and $3 million for catastrophic injuries.
Even if you pay extra for that added coverage, that’s no guarantee a private insurance company will pay out when you need care. In Ontario, there is a system set up for people who have disputes with what a private insurance company feels an accident victim should be entitled to. That means that rather than your doctor or a healthcare professional determining what care and treatment is required, it’s private insurance companies that feel they have that right in Ontario.
According to the BC government, over the next year, drivers will start to save an average of $400 on car insurance – about 20 percent.
Ernst & Young LLP has also put together a comparison of automobile insurance rates across Canada , looking at a number of different profile types, demonstrating what the existing rates are and what the rates will be under the new Enhanced Care model in May 2021.
A lot of people — starting with the Consumers’ Association of Canada. They’ve spoken out in favour of public insurance. And they’ve called private car insurance one of the biggest rip-offs that Canadians face.
The Insurance Brokers Association of BC, the people who sell insurance to drivers, also support keeping public insurance. And so do the front-line workers at ICBC, who see first-hand the value and community benefits that the public insurer provides every day.
People living in British Columbia in the early 1970s and prior before the introduction of ICBC will remember the days when private insurance companies ruled and the exorbitant prices they had to pay.
There’s a well-funded campaign against public insurance, backed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. That name may sound like it’s a government agency, but it’s actually the lobby group for the big, multinational insurance companies.
And joining them is the secretive Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, a right-wing lobby group that regularly campaigns against public services.
And after 16 years of mismanaging ICBC and driving our rates higher and higher, the BC Liberals are now pushing privatization – making you wonder if that was their goal all along.
Every driver needs fair, reliable, and affordable car insurance. That’s why BC’s public insurance was built to deliver good coverage for everyone. Unlike private insurance companies that are focused on taking profits out of our province, ICBC helps support our communities and support families across British Columbia with about 6,000 jobs.
Another big benefit of public auto insurance is reliability. Since we all own ICBC, you never have to worry that your insurance company may suddenly close up shop, the way companies have in Alberta and Ontario, and leave you stranded.
ICBC also does more than just provide insurance. They provide services like drivers’ licensing, road tests, road safety initiatives and more. In fact, for every $1 that ICBC spends on road improvements across B.C., it results in an average of $4.70 in savings.
ICBC also provides grants in lieu of taxes to municipalities across B.C., allowing them to have more money to invest in critical services for the community. As well, ICBC also provides community grants that support the road safety and injury recovery initiatives of community organizations.
And ICBC employs nearly 6,000 people across the province, contributing back to the local economy in communities big and small.
For many years, ICBC’s rates were sustainable. But then, the previous BC Liberal government did real damage and drove up costs for drivers.
In 2010, the governing BC Liberals passed a bill allowing them to take surplus funds from ICBC and put that money on the government’s accounting books. That made the government’s finances look rosier… but it effectively robbed ICBC of all its cashflow. That forced ICBC to raise basic insurance rates just to stay financially stable.
The BC Liberals also deliberately ignored recommendations from a study that they commissioned that advised them on steps they could take to deal with emerging financial issues at ICBC in 2014.
Thankfully, steps taken by the BC NDP government will increase care for people, lower rates for drivers, and help ICBC return to financial health. They have also introduced legislation to make it illegal to divert future surpluses from ICBC. Additionally, the new Enhanced Care model will see money available for treatment and care improve significantly for accident victims, while the average premium rates will actually go down.
In a public system, everybody deals with the public insurer: ICBC. When a claim gets filed, they deal with the same company that handles the claim from start to finish.
In a private system, you must deal with separate insurance companies. The different insurance companies (in a multi-car accident there can be three or more!) then wrangle over who pays what and to whom. The end result? It takes a lot longer to settle claims, and requires more effort from drivers. And it’s a lot more expensive — costs that companies pass on in higher premiums.